A little girl rescues a wounded bird, discovering both the joy and responsibility of caring for and letting go her new best friend in this debut chapter book.
Molly, almost 9 years old, lives for Sundays, the day she wakes at dawn and has breakfast in the backyard with the birds. Her mom and dad call her Molly Sunday in tribute. She and her little brother, Fred, or Ferd, as she calls him, who’s 6, live with their veterinarian parents but have no interest in owning any pets. That is, until they both witness a cardinal with a broken wing take a tumble from the top of Ferd’s treehouse in their backyard. From that moment on, the race is on to be the best caretaker of the injured bird, dubbed “Flappy” by Molly. Ferd is quickly intimidated, but Molly finds her niche in watching over Flappy. From adding vitamins to his water to trying to sneak a kiss without being pecked, Molly loves her new job. She becomes so enamored she even causes a rift between her and her best friend when she tries to keep Flappy completely to herself. Molly and Ferd learn many lessons during their short time with Flappy, far beyond just how to care for him. The cardinal teaches the duo how to empathize and how to be better friends. When it’s time to let Flappy go, Molly must learn the true meaning of the old adage, “If you love something, set it free.” Hyman channels both Molly’s and Ferd’s voices with ease; both leap off the page with the realistic highs and lows of boisterous children. The fast tempo and brightness of the prose makes for a quick, joyful read. Lovers of Mary Pope Osborne’s Magic Tree House series will delight in this reality-based, exuberant chapter book. The inconsistent appearance of the illustrations may be due to the fact that various friends of the author drew them, but the artwork still adds character to each chapter.
A solid debut from a promising author, fit to be read aloud or devoured by young readers.